Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Have you ever done a search online for tips for frugal living? That’s what I’ve been sitting here doing today and just shaking my head in response. I wanted to give you all some great links to some tips for frugal living but as I’m searching I’m finding that many of these tips are so “out there” that they are not practical for the average family.
What works for one family may not work for the family next door. For example, many of the frugal tips I have seen says to give up your car and use public transportation or walk to your destination. That’s not an option for me. Where I live we do not have a public transportation system and if I were to walk to the nearest store I would be walking at least 5 miles, each way, uphill both ways, you know how it is. Not gonna happen!
To me, my time is valuable, especially when I’m working a 40 hour a week job outside of the home. I have read some frugal living tips that would be so time and labor intensive that to me, it would not be worth saving a few bucks. I do make some of my own cleaning products and detergents, which I will share with you, but they are easy to make and don’t require a lot of time. We also grow a garden and can and freeze food during the summer but that saves us money all year long so the time invested is worth it to me.
So instead of linking you up with other people’s lists I just want to share with you what I do to help our family live frugally. Now, I’m not saying we are the most frugal people around, but we do what we can.
12 Ways We Live Frugally
1. Cut Out Cable/Satellite
In 2012 we cut out the expense of satellite TV and I really don’t regret it at all. We were paying over $80 a month for satellite and really only watched a handful of channels. We still have the internet (which we had before) and we pay $7.99 a month for HuluPlus and $7.99 a month for Netflix. Between those two, we have more than enough options for something to watch. I like Netflix because I can go back and watch previous seasons. There are several shows that I did not watch when we had TV, simply because I had not started watching the first season, so I was totally lost. With Netflix I can go back and start at the beginning, then once I get caught up I can usually watch the current season on HuluPlus.
2. Make Our Own Laundry Detergent
I cut out the cost of commercially prepared laundry detergent by making my own Homemade Laundry Detergent. If I bought the detergent without a coupon I was paying around $10 a bottle and usually had to buy 1 or 2 bottles a month. With the homemade detergent I spent $8 and have been using that batch of detergent for the past 9 months and still have plenty left.
3. Homemade Household Cleaners
I make most of my own household cleaners, using basic ingredients like vinegar, Dawn dish detergent, and baking soda. Here you can find several of the cleaners that I make.
I use coupons whenever possible. Sometimes with coupons you aren’t getting the best deal just by using the coupon. Just because I have a coupon doesn’t mean that I will use it if the generic/store brand is cheaper.
5. Hang to Dry
I hang laundry to dry. I don’t do this with all of our laundry but I do hang many things up to dry. In the winter time I hang them on my shower curtain rod in the bathrooms and in the summer I hang them outside to dry. You can also buy one of these indoor clothes retractable clotheslines to be able to hang your clothes indoors. Of course I live in an area where I can hang stuff outside. You may not, so this frugal tip may not work for you. But hanging your laundry inside to dry is something anyone can do. Sometimes I do put stuff in the dryer, especially if I’m in a hurry and I need something to wear! Can’t be running around naked!
Edited: I now live in the downtown area and no longer am able to hang my clothes and towels out to dry. However I do still hang many things on my shower curtain rod and let them air dry.
6. Turn Off the Lights
My husband used to be really bad about leaving lights on all over the house. I was constantly going behind him turning things off. He finally got tired of that and learned to only have the lights on in the room he was in. If your family is bad about leaving the lights on, consider installing these motion activated light switches.
7. Buy Generic
If the generic or store brand is a better deal and its a comparable product then I will buy that versus the name brand. I admit there are some things that I don’t/won’t buy generic. One is canned soup. I have yet to find a generic version of tomato soup that I like as good as Campbells. So I buy Campbells tomato soup when I have coupons and there is a good sale.
8. Take Advantage of Lower Rates
I take advantage of lower electricity rates in the evenings and late night. Electric rates are usually lower during the late night hours. That’s when I try to do my laundry. It does help that I am a night owl and I am up during those late night hours. I will often wash the clothes at night before going to bed, and then the next morning I will hang them up to dry.
9. Take Advantage of Meat Sales
We have a locally owned grocery store here in our area that runs some great meat sales a couple times a month. They will often have a 5 for $19.99 sale where select meat cuts are 5 packages for $19.99. They will also sometimes include packages of deli sliced cheeses in those sales too. I also like to go to Kroger early in the morning or right before closing to see what they have in their markdown meat section. You really have to be careful because sometimes the meat is really pushing its expiration date but oftentimes I can find great deals on meat, which I then bring home, package into ziploc bags and freeze.
10. Cut the Phone Line
We cut out the home phone. I really couldn’t tell you how long its been since we have had a home phone. With cell phones that have excellent service we had no need for a house phone.
11. Freeze leftovers
When its just my husband and I we usually have leftovers. Neither one of us are fans of eating leftovers. Usually I would package some for my lunch the next day but other than that it would sit in our refrigerator and never be touched. I learned to start freezing our leftovers. Some things are just not good after being frozen but many casseroles and soups are great to freeze. With soups and chili I divide the leftovers into freezer bags and lay flat in the freezer. Then, when they are frozen you can stand them upright and they don’t take up a lot of room. If I’m making a casserole I will line my pan with foil (which helps in the cleanup process) and then when we have leftovers I pop the leftover portion out of the pan, wrap the foil around it and stick it in the freezer. It helps to label what you put in the freezer and be sure to put the date that you made it.
12. Grow Your Own Food
Grow a garden and preserve your own food. While this may not be possible if you live in an urban area, you can use container gardens. Just do a search online or on Pinterest for container gardens and you will find tons of ideas. I grew up eating fresh food from the garden. If we didn’t grow it in our garden then my grandmother’s had it in their’s. Now we plant a garden with my parents at their house. In the summer time we always have fresh vegetables available. We also will can or freeze those vegetables to use throughout the year. This past year we canned tomato juice, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and salsa as well as pickled banana peppers (sweet and spicy), green beans, and pickled beets. We also froze green beans, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and squash. That’s in addition to what we were able to give away to bless other people. Yes it may be extra work and like I said before this may not be an option for some families, but for us its a time we can spend together. My mom and I spent countless hours this past summer canning and freezing food. Because of that we usually never have to buy corn, green beans, or canned tomato products at the store.
I hope that my list inspires you to try some different options for saving money for your family. Like I said before, not everything is an option for all families. Find the right fit for your family and good luck on your frugal journey!
Be sure to hop over and check out our other post with ways that Miss Adventures lives frugally.